Lessons From the Dinner Table (pt. 1)

At holiday time a couple of years back, we were expecting family and extended family for dinner.  I was cooking away in the kitchen and had the dinner table set for our extra guests.  With zero prompting, my little girl came to me holding tiny pieces of paper, on which she had hand-written the names of our guests.  She had a plan to use these tiny notes to show our people where to sit.  To me, this was the cutest thing and it showed me her interest in not only what I was doing to get ready for company but also that she was at the perfect age to start helping with dinner preparations going forward.

For more than a year now, she has been in charge of setting the family dinner table each night (each night that we are home for dinner, that is!).  She has options like using placemats and cloth napkins…fancy right?!  It’s cute and fun and I tend to find these items at a very reasonable price at our local TJ Maxx.  She knows (almost) where to place the silverware (we don’t always do it “properly”!) and how to use a chair to be able to reach the plates that are in the cabinets.  Perfection is not what we’re after but what is important is that she takes pride in her work.  The prize is when I can see the sense of accomplishment on her face when her table display is complete. These things are so important to teach a child at a young age; not how to set a table, specifically but how to manage responsibility.  I love using dinner time for lesson time and setting a pretty table is just one way we do it around here.

What types of things do you allow your children to manage around the house?

Thanks for gathering,

-Mandy

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